First, Set A Goal

June 8th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We admit it (rather shamefacedly): we expected to win our first writing contest. We expected a parade. A party. Angels singing. We got a self-addressed package in the mail. We did very well, but not well enough. Since then, we’ve had some success and some failure. We continue to rend our hair at the sight of a “3” out of five with no accompanying comments. We cherish every smiley face and “good job” anonymous judges have scribbled on our work. And we even move beyond our hurt and disbelief to find merit in the less-than-positive comments. We’ve learned you can’t die from bad reviews.

Entering contests requires strength and fortitude — it also requires a purpose. Most contests require the outlay of cash money, and it never hurts to know what you’re getting. Do you want feedback? Check the contest’s reputation by asking your peers. Do you want to get your work in front of a particular editor or agent? Look at the final judges and make sure your entry is just right for the contest. Or do you simply have money burning a hole in your pocket and nowhere else to spend it? Then do nothing and expect nothing. We found this article on entering (and winning) contests to be interesting — it’s not earth-shattering advice, but a nice little checklist. Of course, the bottom line is do a little research before signing your check. And write the best damn entry you can.

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